I always heard that bad things come in threes. I never knew good things came in threes as well. It’s been nice to find out that works too!
In a past blog, I related my good fortune on having three mentors (11/20/13) who supported and helped me in many ways. Today, I would like to tell you about three experiences in my early life which enhanced my education and proved to be energizing as well as a motivating force in advancing my career. In addition, they were a positive influence to help live an interesting life and in my attempts to make a contribution.
Number 1: The first experience was going to the University of Connecticut to explore and then join an intercultural fraternity called Beta Sigma Gamma. I have written about that experience in previous blogs you can find in the archives on:
- 3/6/13 – A Short History Of A Small Beginning
- 6/12/13 – The BSG Back Story
- 9/9/15 – Gaining Acceptance From BSG
- 11/30/16 – My Introduction To Racial Bigotry
I won’t repeat all of that here, only to say it fulfilled a belief that people of all races, religions and cultures have far more in common than they have differences.
Number 2: The second experience came in the 60’s when I moved to Phoenix and joined the Jr. Chamber of Commerce. The Jaycees were a very active 4 to 500-member civic organization. I became very involved and learned a lot about planning and managing lots of logistical details on a variety of projects; Chairman of the Christmas Party for 800 or so kids, Chairman of a Model Constitution Convention and State Chairman of a committee to revise the Arizona Constitution. I was a State Delegate to the first Jaycee Washington, D.C. Conference, as well as member of the Phoenix Board of Directors, Treasurer, Building Manager, Rodeo Parade Marshal and Rodeo Ticket Sales Manager.
It was exciting and fulfilling to be part of a community and be involved in so many worthwhile projects. Without any question, it was an invaluable aid to my career in managing trade associations and producing consumer and trade shows.
Number 3: The third experience happened while working directly for one of my major mentors, Dick Reucker. I worked for Dick as his assistant at the Electric League and then under his watchful supervision as an independent producer of the 1967 Arizona Home Beautiful Show.
I was working for KTAR-TV as a commission salesman when circumstances materialized for me to take on the creation of the first home remodeling show. How that came about is kind of a long story by itself. We’ll save that for another blog.
In effect, I had two full-time jobs with an office at the television station and another one across the parking lot at the Electric League office.
Selling television time was not all that hard so I was able to devote a lot of time, including evenings and weekends, to getting the AHB show off the ground. The sponsors of the show were the Phoenix newspapers and the Electric League, which provided strong support from both major utilities.
We had a cross section of about 150 exhibitors, including a fully-furnished, double-wide mobile home, some designer gardens and a very entertaining dancing waters show.
The AHB opened on a Thursday with a decent, but light crowd. On Friday evening, there was a carnival at the school my kids wanted to attend. Having been at the Coliseum for a solid week, everyone at the show encouraged me to take the night off and go with the family to the school event.
I reluctantly agreed and off we went. All the kids really wanted was a ride to the school. As soon as we got there, they were off with their friends. Standing around, I grew more fidgety and more anxious by the minute.
By the end of an hour, I announced that I couldn’t stay any longer and that I had to get back to the show. We arranged for neighbors to take the kids home and my wife and I charged back to the Coliseum.
We entered the parking lot from the back and it was full of cars. As we got closer to the building, we could see big lines of people waiting to buy tickets and get into the show.
With my heart beating and the adrenaline kicking into high gear, I asked my wife to park the car and I ran into the show, excited there were so many people there, but anxious why they weren’t able to get into the show.
As I charged in, I saw there was a really big crowd inside as well. Somehow, I don’t yet understand how I knew what to do and assertively took charge. The Fire Marshal had closed the show and didn’t want any more tickets sold. I threw the Coliseum ticket-sellers out of the box office and gave tickets and make-shift cash boxes to all the people I could find and started reselling tickets.
At the same time, I got a hold of the Fire Marshal and calmed his fears, and convinced him that there was plenty of room. It all went great! When it came time for the dancing waters show, there were people filling up the stands nearby. The finale of this show was undulating water fountains synced to the music of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was an amazing, exhilarating feeling.
One of the most exciting nights of my life! I was hooked on the trade show business.
All three experiences enabled me to enhance my abilities and confidence in the area of marketing that became my life’s work.
I know now good things definitely come in threes.